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Coachella Hangover (part 1)

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There were at least a handful of LAist contributors at this year's Coachella Festival, and as we slowly recover from our Coachella "hangover" we'll continue to upload photos and tell the stories from another epic weekend in the desert... (or at least the parts we can remember)

Part 1 of 5: THURSDAY - Peanut Butter Cream Pie and Riot Police

Our plan was to leave LA by 2pm (or 3 at the very latest) to try and avoid the peak of rush hour. We ended up leaving at 5:30. Ouch. Oh well, the extra time we sat in traffic gave us more time to get through the "Coachella 2008" playlist on the iPod. Besides, we had plenty of time to make the Filter Magazine party; which, now in it's sixth year has become a Coachella Eve tradition.

My personal Coachella ritual includes a pit stop in Cabazon, CA to refuel, take photos of the giant dinosaurs out back, and have a meal the Wheel Inn Restaurant - a classic truck stop diner with all the kitschy details one would expect. I always get a slice of their peanut butter cream pie, and I always sit in the same counter seat that Pee-Wee sat in during his Big Adventure.

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We continued on to Indio and parked at the Augustine Casino where the shuttle buses were picking up partygoers and transporting them to the Filter party. The party itself was great, as usual. Hard to complain about free booze, free Red Bull, free swag, and good DJs; all at an awesome location surrounding a small manmade lake. However, it's easy to complain about the massive clusterfuck that occurred towards the end of the night when a riot nearly broke out as people tried (in vain) to simply leave the party. Here's the scene: Over a thousand angry, drunk, tired people all wanting to leave, but the only way out is to get on these little shuttle buses that only hold about 20 people each. As each bus showed up, it would get bum-rushed by hundreds of people. Peeps were climbing on top of the buses and even squeezing into the luggage compartments. Some of the bus drivers were so terrified they refused to open their doors, which angered the mob even more, so they'd scream and pound on the sides of the buses. Arguments and scuffles started breaking out here and there, and just when the whole scene was on the verge of devolving into Woodstock '99, about a dozen police cars and an ambulance showed up. Nothing sobers people up quicker than the sight of cops in riot gear coming at them.

Many people decided to walk out to the main road to try and find a cab, and some decided to just keep walking the entire 5 miles back to the casino. Those that stayed to wait out for shuttles had to wait for up to 2 hours before finally getting back to their cars. Here's hoping that Filter comes up with a better transport solution next year.

After finally making it back to the condo at about 3:30 am, I walked through the door, took off my shoes, and made it up 2 flights of stairs when I slowly realized that the place looked... different. Holy crap, I was in the wrong condo! I quietly tip-toed back down the stairs and out the door, thankful that I wasn't arrested for home-invasion robbery.

Coachella had already kicked my ass, and the festival hadn't even started yet.

Coming soon: Part 2 - Friday.